Staging the Early Childhood Classroom
April 12, 2011
There are two critical elements of classroom design when working with special needs students in preschool (IPOP) and kindergarten. First, the furniture needs to be low enough so that the adults can have visual contact with all or most children from most locations in the room. Second, room dividers are needed, splitting the space into centers.
Open spaces invite running and other inappropriate behaviors. Smaller spaces create centers for small groups of students to interact. It is also important to have spaces where children can be alone. Be sure to keep noisy centers away from quiet centers. Centers can be labeled to show the maximum number of people allowed. This helps to avoid overcrowding, which can lead to undesired behaviors. It also forces students to try different centers and interact with different classmates.